January 22, 2013

Chairs and Creaky Joints


As many of you already know, I have osteoarthritis throughout my entire body. This makes a lot of simple things that most people don’t think about into challenges, sometimes monumental challenges. For example, it’s now winter. Yes, I do live in Arizona, and I know that people who live with several feet of snow sneer at the idea of Arizona even calling a season winter. I used to be one of them. I would even wear shorts when we visited my grandparents for Christmas.

However, Arizona does have winter. It does get cold here, even in the desert part. The low deserts have spent the last week with a hard freeze warning. Warning is weatherman speak for “it’s happening now or going to happen”. Even the Phoenix area where I live had a freeze warning. I saw pictures taken not more than an hour’s drive through city traffic, of a volleyball net with icicles hanging from it. I haven’t seen icicles of any size since I moved from Utah.

For most of my life I have preferred cold weather to hot, because you can always put another layer on, but in taking layers off, there are certain guidelines of how much you can take off and still go out in public.

As the arthritis has attacked one joint after another, I’m finding that more of my life is being controlled by the weather. Heat feels good. Cold hurts. Even indoors in a temperature controlled environment, I hurt more on cold days and on cloudy days. When it’s cold outside my joints all ache. Moving anything hurts. Even typing hurts; the arthritis has spent much of the past year moving into my hands and wrists.

That’s the bad news. I don’t share it to evoke pity, only to let you know what is happening in my life. There’s also good news. Ibuprofen is a wonderful drug. On most days, it’s able to chase away enough pain that I can concentrate on what I’m doing. I also have both a cane and a walker I can use on really bad days. Working on my books is something I can usually do even when I don’t feel in top form, though every task demands more time and concentration.

This last week has been difficult, physically, but the weather is slowly improving and I’m really looking forward to those hundred-degree-plus days that will be here soon. From where I sit, the sooner the better.

During this week I started editing The Castle Project, bugged one of my outside editors to finish and return Just a Name, and sent Mind Touch out to beta-readers. I also looked into some methods of being able to update my website more easily, and make it look more spiffy at the same time. The program I use on my writing association's website is very easy to use for updating the site, but I found it very difficult for setting up my own site. I inherited control of the association's already set-up site. A second program which I own but had never even opened was considered, and I signed up for a free class through my library that will teach me to use it. I'm already loving it, so watch for changes on the website as I learn more about how to use the program. It's a six week class, and they won't let me work at my own pace, so those changes are coming, but don't expect them in the next day or so.

Also this week I worked on the chairs for my dollhouse project, but discovered that dowels don’t hold together well when secured by hot glue or by Elmer’s glue. At least, they don’t hold together well enough to stand any sort of strain, such as being held by one leg and painted. I got nine chairs cut out, four chair frames constructed, and watched them crumble apart as I painted them. I’m now devising a plan to make sturdier joints. If the chairs were full-size, I would simply drill holes in the uprights and make the crosspieces have pegs on the ends of them, but that doesn’t work when the entire chair is only two inches tall. I need the chairs to be able to stand enough pressure that I can take thin jute and embroider seats onto the frames, and pretend it is woven wicker. Because they all fell apart there are no pictures, but hopefully I’ll have some pictures of half-completed chairs next week.

~Marie